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Monday, 23 March, 2015, 17 : 00 PM [IST]

Vision 2015: Travel and Tourism - Hospitality

As the Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/C) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma has highlighted the target to achieve 1% share in global tourism arrivals by end of 2015, the hospitality sector is gearing up for a progressive influx of tourists, and working towards developing their offerings. TravelBiz Monitor talks to players in the hospitality sector about their plans for 2015
While the first half of 2014 was almost a wash-out for the Indian hotel business, the environment gained momentum after elections. As per STR Global's latest report, Mumbai hotels registered almost 16% growth in occupancies and 17% growth in RevPAR in November 2014. However, what is giving sleepless nights to the industry is the declining room rate. Considering the reinvigorated investment climate, and initiatives like ETA, the industry expects an early absorption of excess supply to revive rates

nakul_anand_id.jpgNakul Anand
Executive Director,

With the 'Namaste' as the enduring symbol of the ITC Hotels experience, we offer comprehensive hospitality solutions with a collection of more than 100 hotels in over 70 destinations in India. Echoing triple bottom line approach to business, all ITC hotels embody a ‘Responsible Luxury’ ethos.

We have over 40 hotels under various stages of development with 5,000-plus rooms – to be fructified over the next five to six years. Our strategies and growth plans are committed to achieving this vision. In 2014, we forayed into the leisure segment with the ITC Grand Bharat, Gurgaon - NCR. This will be followed by the ITC Vilasa, Mahabalipuram in mid-2015.

kb_kachru_id.jpgKB Kachru
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group South Asia

Carlson Rezidor has achieved the target of nine hotel openings in 2014 India, including the Radisson Blu Guwahati in the gateway city. In the NCR area of Delhi, we added Park Inn by Radisson New Delhi I.P. Extension and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson Sohna Road. In Rajasthan, we added the Radisson Blu Udaipur Palace & Spa and the Country Inns & Suites by Carlson Bhiwadi. In Punjab we added the Country Inns & Suites by Carlson Bathinda and Park Plaza Zirakpur. Down south, we opened the regal Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore and the Radisson Hitech City in Hyderabad. Corporate travel has increased and our hotels continue to witness a surge in bookings.

rajiv_kaul_id.jpgRajiv Kaul
The Leela Palaces Hotels & Resorts

2014 was a year of consolidation primarily in terms of occupancies. The focus was to rebuild occupancies, which declined because of the large influx of new supplies of hotel rooms into most of the micro markets. Therefore, the attention was on consolidating occupancies. Though we succeeded in it to an extent, the rates suffered.

We have eight operating hotels. We will open the Leela Palace Jaipur towards the end of 2015. The work on The Leela Bangalore is currently underway in the Bhartiya City. We recently signed our first hotel outside India in Kathmandu, Nepal. We will continue to look for new sign-ups in the Middle East, Seychelles, and Maldives.

dilip_puri_img.jpgDilip Puri
Managing Director - India & Regional Vice President - SA,
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

The ETA is a big game-changer for India as a travel destination. India need not have to wait till 2020 to see the international inbound double. It could happen in the next couple of years. 

We at Starwood ended 2014 with seven openings in India, and expect to open 10 to 12 hotels in 2015. We will be bringing our luxury brands - St Regis and W - in India this year. We also see opportunities in the conversion space. Hopefully, 2015 will be one of the most successful years after 2007 for Starwood Hotels in India.

vijay_dewan_id.jpgVijay Dewan
Managing Director,
Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd.

The improved economic outlook and government measures like ETA are likely to have a positive impact on the tourism and hospitality industry. There will be an increased traffic into the country which is bound to positively impact the economy. With a boom in the domestic economy, travellers will look at Tier-I, II and emerging cities to explore new places. Therefore, we launched a mid-segment hotel ‘Zone by The Park’.

As part of the brand’s expansion plans, the second property of ‘Zone by The Park’ is slated to launch in Jaipur (Rajasthan) this month. Further, properties will open in Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), Chennai, and Raipur (Chhattisgarh) in 2015. Under the parent brand ‘The Park Hotels’, properties are under development in Kolkata, Pune, and Jaipur.

pradeep_kalra_id.jpgPradeep Kalra
Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing,
Sarovar Hotels & Resorts

The year 2014 was remarkable in terms of operational performance as we added six hotels to our portfolio. ETA will propel tourism in India. This makes India more accessible to people. From the point of view of the hotel industry, this is a welcome change.

We will come with four more properties in the financial year ending March 2015 - Marasa Sarovar Premiere, Tirupati; Crystal Sarovar Premiere, Agra; Hometel, Vandalur; and Sarovar Portico, Dehradun.

rahul_pandit_id.jpgRahul Pandit
President & Executive Director,
The Lemon Tree Hotel Company

We had a great opening to the year when our Flagship hotels in Aerocity got clearance to open end-December 2014. The year also saw us open Lemon Tree Hotel, Dehradun and Lemon Tree Hotel  Shimona, Chennai, under the management contract space, and Lemon Tree Hotel, Gachibowli, in the owned space.

We are looking at key destinations like Baroda, Lucknow, Coorg, Chikmangloor, Varanasi, Vizag, Surat Trivandrum, and Trichi to enter through the management space. We are looking at opening 300-plus keys at Gurgaon. These will be owned hotels. Besides this, our all new and refreshed Lemon Tree Premier in Ahmedabad will be ready to receive guests as well.

vishal_kamat_id.jpgVishal Kamat
Kamat Hotels

In some of our more premium properties like Fort Jadhavgadh, both ARR and occupancy have moved up considerably. This improvement has especially taken place of late with a change in corporate sentiment.  The Orchid too has done well in terms of the market scenario.

We expect to grow our various chain outlets through franchisee and management routes. We are expanding at our existing locations and yielding better Return on Investments from our existing properties. We are in talks with an investor to expand the rooms to a 160-room MICE destination hotel in Puri. Same is the case with few of our other properties.
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